Richard Dunne has had a great career at centre half. Playing for big premier league clubs and having hundreds of appearances under his belt. However his role in the recent 352 formation acquired by new boys QPR is a tough test for the 34 year old. In both of the R’s first two games the defender has been exploited and cracks have began to widen in his performances. The system calls for a defender who is able to confidently step out of the back-line with the ball, but also move out to the touchline to face the wingers one-on-one. The 34 year old looks awkward in possession, and he tends to play conservatively to compensate for his lack of pace. As he doesn’t push on, it forces Traore to hold back, and the whole system suffers as a result.
Nedum Onuoha has the pace required to equal his counterparts. He has also shown many times in his QPR career that he is not afraid of going forward with the ball. This will enable QPR to be less negative on the ball and give Armand Traore the chance to be further forward more often. Something that will hopefully lead to QPR moving off their goal tally of zero for this season. Just like Richard Dunne however Nedum is right footed. A problem which leads to the right footed player at left centre back being uncomfortable when playing it down the left side and forcing them to play it inside. As shown on sunday against a typical Mauricio Pochettino team, the high pressure upfield led to Richard Dunne panicking and Spurs capitalising on him being forced to play inside. Erik Lamela forced Dunne onto his left foot and outpaced him every time when cutting inside.
As ‘deadline day’ approaches there is an expectancy from R’s fans for business to be done late on. The type of player QPR require to replace Richard Dunne may not be available. The amount of quick, left footed, confident on the ball, good passing, defenders that are within our price range and wanting to join a club already fighting against relegation is limited. A lot of work needs to be done with whoever Redknapp has planned to partner Rio and Caulker if QPR are going to look better on the ball and leak less goals. The opening two games have shown that although QPR have some players who suit the 352 perfectly, they also have a few who really look out of their comfort zone. The inclusion of Richard Dunne vs Burton on Tuesday night suggests that he will not feature on Saturday. Three games in 6 days is something a man of his age cannot cope with. If QPR are to survive this season the removal of the veteran from the starting XI could be the key to getting into winning ways and chasing down the 40 point target.